Utah Prosecutors Must Prove a Criminal Defendant’s Mental State
Each time a person is convicted of a crime, the person’s mental state must meet certain requirements. Statutes often use words such as purposefully, intentionally, recklessly, or negligently to describe the mental state required to commit a certain crime. That mental state is referred to in the law as the mens rea of criminal act. A person cannot be guilty of a criminal act unless he or she meets the mens rea requirement of the defined crime.
Salt Lake Man Didn’t Have the Requisite Mens Rea for Animal Torture Charge
This mens rea requirement is beneficial for all because it allows for punishment of those who are truly culpable; if a person committed a an offense negligently and the statute requires that to be guilty of the crime one must have committed it intentionally, then the person won’t be convicted of the crime. This protects innocent people from unfair convictions. A Utah Criminal Defense attorney makes sure that a Salt Lake area prosecutor proves the required mental state of a criminal offense.
Some animal rights activists may be upset that the requirement of mens rea will keep a man from a harsher criminal charge. A Salt Lake man was charged with a third-degree felony of animal torture for stepping on a puppy’s head. The statute requires that one “intentionally, knowingly” tortures a dog but the judge found that the man did not intentionally or knowingly torture the puppy. The judge did rule, however, that the man could be charged for a lesser misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. The man will stand trial for the misdemeanor charge.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys Make Sure Mens Rea Is Proved
Because of the requirement of “intentionally, knowingly” the Salt Lake man will be able to avoid a harsher criminal charge because he did not commit the crime intentionally or knowingly. If you have been charged with any crime, such as animal cruelty, call a Utah criminal defense attorney from Salt Lake based Salcido Law Firm. A Salcido Law Firm attorney will evaluate your situation to find out if you had the requisite mens rea to be convicted of the criminal charge. Call 801.413.1753 for a free criminal defense consultation.